Monday, October 6, 2014

Button Bear

Look at that sweet face. Don't you just love teddies for Christmas? But what's with all the buttons?

Now, don't get me wrong. I can appreciate the effort it took to sew on all those buttons. I just can't figure out why. And here's another curiosity. Notice there is glue residue on the arms and legs. Could she have lost some buttons along the way? A bear who loves buttons this much must have a special heart. Let's see where the button trail takes us...

Yup. You guessed it. The first thing to go were all the buttons... just for now.

But, ugh. She's a bit more distressed than I was counting on. Her fur is "dented" and those spots of glue have got to go.

I cleaned her up as best I could, but couldn't get all the glue off for fear of tearing her, so at this point, I'm thinking I'll make some sort of outfit to cover up all the little issues in her fur. However... I don't sew!

I tried a couple of ideas with felt, but they just looked cheesy, and I was losing the button thread (pun intended) in the process. So Button Bear and I had a little chat...

Up in the North Pole, everyone has a job... even the teddy bears. For instance Button Bear is a junior buttoneer, which means she's part of the crew that makes sure all the dolls have their buttons sewn on just right. And she loves her job! Nothing makes Button Bear happier than when things are buttoned down. (Yes, I meant that one too.)

Button Bear has a dream that one day she'll be called upon to sew a button for Santa. What an honor that would be!

Let's see if we can't help make Button Bear's dream come true, shall we?

Now, I've already established that I don't sew, but I do crochet. So I grabbed some leftover Fun Fur yarn and made a giant snow ball for Santa's button. Of course, it has to be oversized for two reasons: 1. Button Bear is 5 1/2" tall and I wanted it to be "to scale," and 2. I needed to cover up all the dents in her fur. (If you're following along, this is the same strategy I used for Endicott Elf, and that worked great so I'm trying it again here.)

I don't know how to write crochet patterns, but if you're interested in trying this for yourself, I found this pattern for creating a crocheted ball on a lovely blog called Greedy for Colour! Just adjust the diameter of your ball to the size of the teddy you're working with. (For Button Bear at 5 1/2" tall, Santa's Button needed to be about 3" in diameter.)

Next, I sewed Santa's button to Button Bear's hands. (Yes, it looks painful, but I promise you, no harm was done to any teddy bears in the making of this ornament.) I used embroidering thread for extra strength, then sewed Button Bear's original buttons over the stitch marks to hide them.

So far so cute. But, I still have six of her original buttons left over, and I'm feeling she'd want to take all her buttons with her when she is rescued...

And the good news is, the buttons covered up the glue spots!

Three buttons to go. But where to put them? Then it dawned on me. Buttoneers like Button Bear would always be prepared for a button emergency! She needs some thread!

I grabbed a vintage wooden spool from my stash of useless-things-I-plan-to-do-something-with-someday. A dash of red paint, a bit of sparkly white yarn, three buttons to top it off and there was Button Bear's hat!

And now she's ready whenever Santa calls!


This ornament has been rescued! Please stop by our Etsy shop to see all of our other ornaments that need a home in time for Christmas. And remember...

All proceeds benefit Hasbro Children's Hospital, Providence, RI.

If you want to give this a try, you'll need...
  • Small teddy bear or other soft toy
  • A selection of buttons (I used all eight of Button Bear's original buttons for this)
  • Material or yarn to make Santa's button 
  • Small wooden spool
  • Crafter's acrylic paint (your choice of color)
  • Ribbon
  • Yarn (to represent the thread on the spool)
  • Material for a hanger (I used embroidery thread)
  • Hot Glue

The basic steps are...
  1. Clean the bear's fur as best you can.
  2. Make Santa's button and sew it to your bear's hands.
  3. Sew buttons on your bear as you see fit.
  4. Paint the wooden spool
  5. Glue a strand of yarn to the spool, then wrap it around to represent thread. Use a yarn needle to weave the end in to secure the yarn to the spool. (Notice I left a tiny bit dangling from the end to look like every spool of thread I own!)
  6. Hot glue the spool to your bear's head.
  7. Attach a hanger to the toy's head (not the spool in case the glue isn't all that secure).
  8. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

Ornament Rescuer

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